I’m a pretty piss-poor sleeper, to keep it a stack with all of you.
I’ll never understand the people who can just fall asleep immediately, without three hours of DVR "Seinfeld" or a double dose of NyQuil prior.
Yeah, it’s ironic, especially considering I’m known to lug through the first three-fourths of my day like a f*cking zombie in search of coffee or a discreet place to nap.
Still, no matter how tired I might be during the daylight hours – when it actually comes time to sleep – I find myself counting sheep until the cows come home.
Well, if you’re anything like me, new research shows that having sex before bed could be the answer to all of your problems.
According to Laura Berman, the director of the Berman Center for Women’s Sexual Health, sex before bed could be the key to all your sleep-deprived nightmares.
In an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, from an episode of his former MSNBC show “The Situation with Tucker Carlson,” Berman spoke highly about the underlying benefits of sex as a sleep aid. In Berman’s eyes, the seemingly nationwide epidemic – better known as sleep deprivation – results from stress or depression, and sometimes both.
When people have sex, the body will naturally release neuropeptides known as endorphins.
Endorphins are the driving force behind many natural states of euphoria, like the runner’s high, for instance. This is why, after having sex, you will likely feel less stressed and think more highly of yourself.
Building on Berman’s case, Katy Winter of Daily Mail expanded on the relationship between sex and shuteye. Similar to Berman’s explanation for sleep deprivation, Winter writes, on average, British women sleep for 80 minutes less than they need each night due to stress-related matters.
According to Winter’s data, the average British female will accumulate roughly six hours and 40 minutes of sleep each night, which is well short of the doctor recommended eight hours.
What’s worse, however, is that 1.6 million British women run on just four hours of sleep each night, which is merely half of the suggested amount.
With that being said, Winter notes 17 percent of these women “say they sleep longer and deeper after sex.” The statistics included in this study were all cited from a survey distributed by Sanctuary Spa, a UK-based body care brand.
“It all has to do with hormone production during intercourse,” notes Saralyn Mark M.D., associate professor of medicine and OB/GYN at the Yale School of Medicine, in a recent Women’s Health article.
According to Mark, sex encourages the production of oxytocin – which helps you and your partner “bond,” in addition to inhibiting the release of the stress-inducing hormone cortisol.
This hormonal reconfiguration, if you will, leaves the body feeling naturally more relaxed, resulting in more a fluent transition into sleep.
Additionally, for women, estrogen levels are known to increase after intercourse, “which can enhance a woman’s REM cycle for a deeper sleep,” according to the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the Morehouse School of Medicene.
Having said that, you shouldn't sleep on the benefits of sex for the male insomniac either. “A man’s body chemistry changes after orgasm," affirms David McKenzie, a Vancouver based sex therapist.
According to McKenzie, after sex the male anatomy will release a biochemical known as prolactin – which is directly responsible for alterations in the body that result in feelings of fatigue. Also, perhaps in a more common-sense-based vein, men may feel tired after sex due in part to physical exertion.
As stated in Best Health Mag by authors of “Why Do Men Fall Asleep?” Mark Leyner and Billy Goldberg, M.D., “It is thought that exertion during sex and after climax depletes the muscles of energy-producing glycogen. This leaves men feeling sleepy. Since men have more muscle mass than women, men become more tired after sex.”
Given the research at hand, it is clear that sex has a positive effect on the sleep cycle, but it seems the same might also be true for the inverse relationship.
According to Nicholas Bakalar of The New York Times, not only can sex lead to a better night’s sleep, but sleep can lead to an overall healthier sex life, too.
According to Bakalar, researchers targeting the relationship between sexual function and sleep quality administered questionnaires to 171 female test subjects, over the course of two weeks.
Among women in romantic relationships, data showed that the women who slept the longest also reported the highest levels of sexual desire.
In fact “each extra hour of sleep corresponded to higher levels of sexual desire, and a 14 percent increase in the likelihood of sexual activity the next day,” says Bakalar. Furthermore, women who slept for longer times on average also reported greater vaginal lubrication.
David Kalmbach, researcher at the University of Michigan Sleep and Circadian Research Laboratory, feels as though sleep is important to our sex lives for more practical reasons.
According to Kalmbach, a healthy amount of sleep each night will do wonders for your mood. Subsequently, better moods typically equate to better sexual experiences or, at the very least, better impressions of sexual experiences.
For Kalmbach, “[T]he message is that sleep health is important for many areas of our daily living.” He continues to say, “good sleep has been shown to improve mood, energy, concentration, overall health, and, now, sexual desire and arousal."
You best believe I’m going to sleep an extra hour early tonight – and hitting the snooze button tomorrow. F*ck it, maybe even twice.